MONTREAL -- Real estate developer Devimco is not planning a baseball stadium in its Peel Basin development – but that doesn't mean they’re closing the door.

Company president Serge Goulet said as much in a videoconference on Monday when he unveiled the first models of his vision for the Peel Basin, just south of downtown Montreal.

There was no trace of a baseball stadium in the two sketches he presented to the media, however, he still claimed he’s discussing a possible development partnership in the neighbourhood with Stephen Bronfman and Pierre Boivin of Claridge and the Montreal Baseball Group.

Goulet also said that the lands Devimco is using for this development already belong to the company and those held by the Canada Lands Company, not by Loto-Québec.

In an article published in November 2019, La Presse reported that Claridge and Devimco had sights on some 440,000 square feet belonging to Loto-Quebec in the area.

Goulet said the Loto-Quebec land is not required to develop the district as he sees fit, “but if a stadium project were to be added, it would be good to have more surface area.''

A spokesperson for the Montreal Baseball Group told The Canadian Press that there would be no comment on the project unveiled Monday.

Goulet said that his neighbourhood development project was presented to the City of Montreal in 2018 and that the city will not submit its development plan before the summer of 2021, a few months before the municipal elections, which could further delay the start of construction, possibly until 2023.

Peel Basin plans
image: Devimco

Goulet was part of a group of 12 signatories of an open letter sent to the City of Montreal last week asking it to speed up development of the city centre, including the Bridge-Wellington district, which includes the Peel Basin. The signatories believe that the city is losing out on “billions of dollars” as developers wait for the green light from the Plante administration to go ahead with its projects.

Goulet wants to propose a so-called 'New Deal' to the city, and is asking it to work with private developers to come together to set goals and deadlines now, subject to tight accountability and greater community involvement by developers.

Devimco also said it is essential that the REM (light-rail train) stop in the neighbourhood to make development worthwhile. He repeated his proposal to cover part of the costs of a possible station to the tune of $25 million. Based on the current plan, the REM would bypass the Peel Basin without stopping there.

Goulet pointed out that adding the station once the electric train is in operation could multiply its construction costs by ten.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2020.